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there must be a sustaining philosophy, something Any ordinary man would be scared to death, but with a strong power of counteraction.
you know me, Al.
Fatalism! I hit upon that as the one thing the soldier could place his trust in, and, relieved by so doing, enjoy at the same time a new sense of comfort and even of security!
A child of fate he is then, irresponsible as to worldly worries, no longer burdened with the complex exigencies of civil life, leaving it all to his new goddess, his "all-in-all," the source of his "peace that passeth understanding." So he sits, calm, uncomplaining, statue-like! A passenger for the front from which, he knows, he may not
The advertisements which frequently appear in the journal serve as an outlet for funmaking. The camp canteen evidently has its troubles, judging from this advertisement which appeared not long ago:
In Order to Carry a Larger
WE NEED MORE CAPITAL
Can You Throw in 20 Francs Quick?
If Not, Don't Kick if We Are Sold Out Twelve
After Supplies Arrive!
"BUY A CANTEEN BOND TO-DAY"
At the foot of one page appeared this bit of advice:
CROIX DE GUERRE
YOU MUST BE BRIGHT!
The readiness with which the familiar and distinguished things at home are utilized for camp consumption is well attested in the following paraphrase of the letter-writing "busher":
HIS LETTER HOME
DEAR AL.-Gee, this is a great life, and you can bet I'm enjoying every minute of it. We have been in the thickest of the fray for the past month now. You boys back home would open your eyes if you could see the things we see every day. Even as I write there are six planes battling in the air above me. Shells are bursting around us in every direction and pieces fall on the paper in front of me.
The airplanes are most bothersome at night. Have you ever been in Jersey and seen the mosquitoes? Well, that's they, and worse. Bombs drop everywhere; in the soup, in your tobacco, on your beds and even in your boots when you take them off at night.
The boys in the trenches are safe compared with us. They don't have to drive along roads with shells bursting every inch. Many is the time I've lit a cigarette and held the match for the wind of a passing shell to put out.
You know me, Al. I used to be a peaceful citizen, but I've gotten so I crave the sight of blood and the sight of battle, and the chief has the deuce of a time keeping me from chasing the Germans in my ambulance.
One of the things you've got to get used to is the sight of the millions of wounded you see every day. As we rush down the road through shot and shell we often pass poor fellows with both legs shot off running to safety, and armless men wave to us to stop as we go buzzing by.
Al, have you ever been hit by a shell? Well, I have, lots of times. After a while you get so used to it that all you notice is the extra weight of the pieces you carry around in you and the medals they make you wear.
I know what you're going to ask me. No, we don't
As the American Red Cross ambulance service has been taken into the United States army, the verses published in one of the latest issues of Soixante Trois, are particularly appropriate.
A toast or two and a last salute,
A touch of fame and of good repute,
A fare-you-well and a last "bonne chance,"
(The following poem was found among the effects of a badly wounded British soldier. We have not been able to identify the author.)
CROSS COMMISSION TO ITALY
GEORGE F. BAKER, JR.
(Chairman of the Commission)
N VIEW of the recent reverses sustained by the Italian Army, an unqualified endorsement now of its energy, ability and bravery might seem ill timed; our Commission is so strong, however, in its convictions in that direction that it is not only a pleasure but seems an obligation to us to tell of it in every way we can. It is quite impossible to attempt to explain the recent serious reverse, because to one who has been on the ground and who has been impressed with the efficiency of the Army (as are all who visit Italy) there is no plausible explanation. For months past visitors have been learning of Italy's great need for large guns and artillery of all kinds, as well as ammunition. While believing that the advance of the Italian Army into Austrian territory was limited by such needs, we, in no way, understood that these supplies were a necessity for successful defense. It would be quite natural, however, that even if guns and ammunition were lacking for defense purposes the Italian generals and officials would hesitate to divulge such a condition unless, perhaps, to officials of the Allies who could remedy it.
Our Commission, composed of Mr. John Morron, Dr. Thomas W. Huntington, Dr. Victor G. Heiser, Mr. Nicholas F. Brady and the Chairman, left New York the latter part of July and, after visiting the British and French fronts in France, spent five weeks in Italy studying conditions to determine how the American Red Cross could render the most efficient aid and coöperation there. During our trip we covered practically the entire territory, from North to South, including Sicily, visiting Rome, Naples, Genoa, Milan, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Palermo, Brindisi, Bari, Taranto, Messina, Lecce, etc. Two weeks were spent with the Second, Third and Fourth Armies at the Italian front.
Our best information was that Italy has about 4,000,000 men under arms, and that there were available for the wounded 1,000,000
beds. The many hospitals which we visited were almost without exception clean and efficiently maintained, with able doctors and surgeons directing their activities. In a word, we can say that in our judgment Italy has good reason to be proud of the way she is caring for her wounded. We do not mean to intimate that Italy has no needs in the matter of caring for her wounded, but merely wish to emphasize that she has made the very best use of the means available. We believe there is a fine opportunity for relief work in various directions in Italy, and that American sympathy and aid in that country will be deeply appreciated, evidencing anew our desire to help wherever help is needed. Moral assistance in times such as these to a nation that has been struggling hard gives new heart and courage. Such aid as the American Red Cross can bring will accomplish this to no little degree.
There is throughout Italy a great quantity of hospitals, often located in a building that formerly might have been a school, a monastery, a convent, a hotel, or just a dwelling. These structures have been so altered as to be well adapted for hospital use. In addition there are many new hospitals constructed since the war. Many of these have 2,000 or more beds and are modern in every way. The construction is generally of stucco, with tile roof, and takes the form of a one-story structure having individual wards, with passages connecting, and with operating theatres conveniently located.
Another type of hospital that is most interesting is the movable hospital that can be dismantled and placed on automobile trucks. This type varies. In some cases there is only the operating room and equipment -all of which is carried on one truck. In other cases there is a complete hospital, including wards, kitchen, electric light plant, radiograph, artificial heat plant, etc., as well as operating rooms. Some of these larger moveable hospitals require sixteen motor
trucks for their transport, and when set up serve very well for all cases. We visited such a hospital on our trip, which was in charge of Major Balda Rossi, one of the leading medical men of Italy, whose courage and determination was the cause of the establishment of operating hospitals right at the front, almost in the trenches themselves. It seems that the Italian people had such confidence in him that at the beginning of the war they collected 300,000 lire to be spent exactly as he himself saw fit, and he undertook to establish a complete operating hospital that could be picked up and put on sixteen lorries. These hospitals Major Rossi would push up to the front in the most dangerous places, always accompanying them himself. Whenever the line moved forward he was not satisfied to stay where he was, but insisted on pushing forward with the advance. He told us that on one occasion he had operated, taken down the hospital, transported it 150 kilometres, and there operated again all within twenty-four hours. He was clear in his views as to the necessity of certain kinds of operation being performed as soon as possible, and he demonstrated this to us later on, when we were lunching with him at one of his hospitals, by showing us a man who had been shot in the stomach eight hours before, and who was in such an exhausted condition on account of the loss of blood, that they could not even operate on him, although he was under an anæsthetic and on the operating table at the time, and they were using every means to keep him alive. He said that it was a hopeless case; that the man could not be operated on, and must die, but that if he had been able to get him within two hours he could have saved his life.
The hospitals, or rather, relief stations, up near the lines are always under cover. They may be in dugouts or in caves constructed in the solid rock. In one case we visited a complete hospital lodged in an Austrian railroad tunnel which had not been quite completed when the war broke out.
To one who has been in Italy during the war and has gained sympathy and admiration for the Italians, it is distressing to think that all the beautifully equipped hospitals in the territory recently captured by the Austrians are lost-at least lost as far as their usefulness for the Italian wounded is concerned. What has become of these wounded is a question
that as yet seems unanswered. While we were at the front there were about 60,000 wounded in this territory. It is very doubtful, however, if anything like that number were there when the Italians retired, as it was only on account of the Italian offensive that there were as many as that during our visit. Let us hope few hospital patients were captured, though, frankly, it is hard to see how those that were there could have been removed.
It would seem that one's estimate of Italy. and its army would change somewhat in view of the recent reverses; our confidence, however, remains unshaken and so our impressions, as expressed immediately on our return to this country-which was some few days before the Austrian advance-still hold good. In our estimate of Italy as expressed at that time we said: "We cannot overstate our admiration and enthusiasm for the efficiency of the Italian Army on all its fronts. They have not only attained extraordinary military advantage over their enemies, but they have ably devoted their attention and efforts to the care and welfare of their army and their wounded. We have seen the mountain heights bordering the plains of Northern Italy which at the commencement of the war were held by the Austrians. From these heights the Italians drove their enemies well back into the mountains, and to-day, instead of defending their country from the plains, they are attacking the enemy from the mountain tops which afford them equal advantages as to positions. The stories of the difficulties of taking these positions, and the stories of the bravery of the men who accomplished this feat can only be thoroughly understood by one who visits the battlefield itself. Accounts and pictures cannot possibly give a true comprehension. In cases where it was impossible to drive the enemy from their position through attack, the Italians resorted to secretly building tunnels underneath the particular territory occupied, and blowing it up with an enormous charge of explosive.
"The amount of permanent construction, such as building of mountain roads for automobiles and mountain railways to serve the armies at the front, is tremendous. Up the sides of the mountains where before the war an individual could scarcely climb are found these roads and railroads so thoroughly constructed that they resemble in character the famous mountain roads that have existed for